Palestinian U.N. Membership Blocked

New York, Nov. 11 - A U.N. Security Council committee Friday dealt a setback to the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) bid for unilateral statehood when the world body failed to reach agreement on whether to admit Palestine as a full member to the United Nations.

The U.N. Security Council admissions committee announced it would delay indefinitely a decision on a vote. Portuguese U.N. Security Council Ambassador José Filipe Moraes Cabral, who is this month’s council president, said, “We're consulting with other members of the council and other interested parties and then we'll see the way forward.”

Cabral also said the Security Council has a “very busy workload” and hasn’t determined a future date to discuss the PA application. As of now, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has just eight of the nine votes it needs on the 15-member Security Council to force a vote in the Security Council. Even if there were nine votes in favor, the United States has said it would use its veto power to block the bid. Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Bosnia and Colombia are among the members who are not supporting the Palestinian bid.

Abbas formally submitted an application for full membership to the United Nations on Sept. 23 after delivering a speech to the General Assembly that totally denied any Jewish rights or claims to the Land of Israel. Several Western countries, including the United States, France, Britain and Canada, see Abbas’ attempts to achieve membership in the United Nations as a way to avoid negotiations with Israel.

Israel has said it is willing to return unconditionally to talks with the Palestinians at any time, in any place. Abbas abandoned negotiations with Israel more than a year ago when Israel declined to continue its voluntary freeze on construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Palestinian officials told news outlets earlier this week that it would next turn to the U.N. General Assembly, where a simple majority vote would upgrade their status to “permanent observer state” – same as the Vatican.

"Our plan now is to take the battle to the U.N. General Assembly, where we are certain to score victory,” one Palestinian official said. “This will allow us access to many important U.N. agencies and organizations, including the International Criminal Court (ICC).”

In the meantime, support for Israel among the U.S. electorate has risen to 60 percent, the highest level since 2009, according to a new poll commissioned by The Israel Project and published this week. The increase in support comes on the heels of the Palestinians’ efforts to avoid negotiations and U.N. statehood bid.

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